Due to covid circumstances, the selection process was carried out on online platforms and the process included only a ‘Personal Interview' after the first shortlist.
Academics: 10th-95, 12th-92, Grad-8.1(up to 7th Semester)
Profile: General Engineer Female (Fresher)
XAT score: Overall-97.89(V&LA-95.08, QA-83.36, DM-99.74); GK-79.98(I suck :P)
Had my BM interview on 19th March 2021 and HRM on 22nd March 2021. (We were given a choice for the selection of interview dates - was grilled around this, read further.)
Will be discussing HRM Interview here.
- My slot was around 4:30 in the evening on Zoom. At around 5 pm, I was asked to enter the call. (Was very nervous & thrilled and the wait added to it)
- There were three male professors. Will be referring to them as P1, P2, P3.
- P1 had very normal expressions on his face, P2 kinda intimidated me as he maintained a straight face throughout the interview and P3 kept smiling, giving a very positive vibe.
Me: Good Evening, Sir.
P3: Hi Akshika, seems like we kept you waiting for quite a long time, you look nervous. Have some water if you want.
Me: Smiled and said, “Thank you, Sir, I'm fine” (which I was not, totally!)
P1: Okay then let's start the interview. Akshika, you're doing Btech, right?
Me: Yes sir, I'm in my final year.
P1: So did you sit for your campus placements or yet to appear for those?
(I wanted to go like, LoL, we don't do that stuff at our college - Pantnagar people can understand)
Me: No sir, I didn't. Actually, we don't have a lot many(saying zilch would have been very depressing) companies coming to our campus. There were a few that traced us through online mediums but I didn't go for those.
P1: So the placement scenario at your college isn't good. How long has it been like that?
Me: Have been in this college for almost four years and noticed that the graph isn't going up instead witnessed a downfall in a few years.
P1: And what are the possible reasons for that?
Me: Sir, it's a government college. All the employees have been in the same positions for years now and it's like they have lost interest in thriving for any improvements. (All my frustration coming out ~ Was trying to be brutally honest but then remembered, blaming all of it on authority might not be a good option! So gave some more points like how covid also affected the process) Also, recently we had a change in our exam pattern as we shifted from internal to the external examination process.
P1: What's with that? I mean what are the differences?
Me: Explained to him how the rules and regulations for exams were more strict in external pattern, like, Backlogs in more than two subjects led you to a year back with no provisions for medical issues & compartment. Students faced a lot of trouble, pulled off court cases, etc. Basically concluded with.., the amount of time students must have invested in building their skillsets was wasted in dealing with pressures regarding exams and not everyone was able to cope up with that.
P2(jumped in): Akshika, when a change is decided upon, a lot of thought is put into it. I'm sure your college's administration must have had some positives in their mind regarding this shift. What do you think those would have been?
Me: Maybe the college administration visioned a more rigid curriculum that may force students to bring out their best and achieve greater academic heights.
P2: So why did it backfire? As you said, wasn't healthy for students.
Me: Sir, I believe adaption should accompany change. But the speed with which it came into effect was way faster than the students, or even the teachers, could process. There was no room for adjusting to it which further fostered trouble on both ends. (Gave me a ‘hmmm look' with a straight face. Couldn't really make out was satisfied or not!)
P1(ThankGod, he came back): You said there was no time to adapt but you have a CGPA above 8, so how did you adjust?
Me: Sir, as I mentioned earlier, not all were able to cope which also implies there were some who did. A few quick learners exist everywhere. (shouldn't let go of a single chance to appear confident)
P1 & P3 laughed.
P2: Akshika, I went through your questionnaire and I can't find anything that we could talk about. (we were given a form with some HR questions related to our life, prior to the Interview) Tell me something other than what's written here.
(This guy sat there just to make me nervous)
Me: Tried thinking about a major Life event. (You know that moment when you actually have 100 things to talk about in a domain but as soon as someone puts it up as a question, you can't remember a single thing!) This was that moment of the interview where I went blank and then nervously talked about a very normal sort of moment.
He didn't engage.
P3(finally): (smiling) Hi Akshika, so you have mentioned the organization of various fests in your college. What moment related to that brought you the most joy?
Me: We have a celebrity night on the last day of our tech fest. I remember this moment from my first year when the students were going mad about the celeb performing on stage and I could see that they are enjoying something, we have worked so hard for. It made me extremely happy when I saw people so excited about an event that we created & brought to life.
P3: Ohh, must have been a nice feeling. (smiles)Who was the celebrity?
Me: Darshan Raval.
P3: What other celebrities have you managed to call on campus?
Me: The local train, Akhil Sachdeva, Nalayak Band, etc.
P3: During this stint with the executive body, how did you change or progress as an individual?
Me: Talked about how the organization of a fest involves so many facets like bringing people together, arranging logistics, communicating with sponsors, meeting deadlines under pressure, etc. It helped me grow in all aspects & especially nurtured my soft skills. One major change I feel is the lessened hesitation in talking to people for the first time. I mean, I would have come across as a totally different person in this interview, if I had not been a part of this body.
P3: Nice. Can you recall any moment from your college life that affected you or your thought process?
Me: (had only one thing in mind, people close to me know, if only I had the guts to say it as it is) Anyways, told him how due to some medical emergency, I had to rush home without my laptop and other things, just a week before the interview. Was very difficult to mentally prepare me after that and I also, had to arrange all the resources required in a given time. This episode made me realize how situations can change in a moment and you still have to show up for certain things because that's how you live!
(Smiled back at me)
P1: Akshika, you gave your BM interview, right?
Me: Yes sir, on the 19th.
P1: Why did you choose a date for HRM after BM?
Me: (I seriously didn't realize where's this going) Sir, my first preference was always HRM…(P1 cuts me)
P1: We know, we know that from your form but why didn't you give HRM's Interview first?
Me: As I said, HRM was always my preference so I thought it would be a good idea to get familiar with the interview process. (Said this without thinking)
P2: (came in to roast me) Akshika, I really appreciate your honesty but imagine if one of us would've taken your BM Interview too, would you have said the same thing? It's like you're telling us on our face that you gave it just as a practice Interview.
Me: (just realized what I did but had already been through 3/4th of the interview so was quite confident at that moment) Sir, having priorities doesn't mean you aren't considering other options. Joining XLRI will always be an honor for an MBA aspirant like me.
(After this answer, I wanted to pat myself on my back because guess what, P2 finally smiled!!!)
P2: So which interview was better, according to you?
Me: BM's interview because it was a fun interactive conversation kind but yes, this was an interview kind of interview!
P1: I like your honesty.
Me: Thank you sir!
“Okay Akshika, now you can leave the meeting.”
VERDICT: Waitlist number-71(15th May); Converted into the first list(27th May)
Pro-tip: I was very scared of appearing for MBA interviews. In fact XLRI BM was my first official interview to date(& that too when I wasn't in my best form) but now I know interviews are no nightmares if you're just you.